A Threshold-Based Decision-Support System for Fungicide Applications Provides Cost-Effective Control of Citrus Postbloom Fruit Drop
Gama, A.B.; Silva Junior, G.J.√©; Peres, N.A.; Edwards Molina, J.; de Lima, L.M.; Amorim, L.
Plant Disease 103(9): 2433-2442
Postbloom fruit drop (PFD) of citrus, caused by Colletotrichum acutatum sensu lato and C. gloeosporioides sensu lato, is an important disease in the humid tropics of the American continent. PFD mainly affects flowers, on which typical symptoms are characterized by orange-brown lesions with presence of acervuli. The disease has a sporadic occurrence, but preventative fungicide sprays are applied every season. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a fungicide spray strategy for PFD based on a predictive model of C. acutatum conidium germination linked to weather conditions. Fungicide sprays were performed when the model predicted pre-established thresholds of 10, 15, 20, and 25% of germinated spores (T10, T15, T20, and T25, respectively). Five experiments were conducted in two different seasons in the state of S√£o Paulo, Brazil. PFD control efficacy of the threshold-based treatments was compared with a nontreated control and to a calendar-based spray system. Additionally, an economic analysis was performed to assess the gross income revenues of the fungicide spraying strategies. Disease control in plots treated at T10, T15, and T20 was as effective as the calendar-based strategy. The number of fungicide applications was reduced by 33 to 71% when sprays were applied at T15 and T20, and gross income increased or was comparable to that of the other treatments. Therefore, using a conidium germination model with a threshold of 15 or 20% is recommended as a spraying strategy for PFD management in Brazil.